Atlantans lay flowers, cards and candles at base of late John Lewis’s mural in city

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Mourners gathered Saturday at a mural of the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood to leave notes and flowers and remember the longtime lawmaker and civil rights icon who died on Friday.

Lewis was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in December of 2019, but vowed to continue serving his district. 

The 65-foot-tall mural features an image of Lewis with the word “Hero.”

The mural also includes a quote from Lewis’s speech at the 1963 March on Washington, that reads, “I appeal to all of you to get into this great revolution that is sweeping this nation.  Get in and stay in the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this nation until true freedom comes, until the revolution of 1776 is complete.” 

WSB-TV reporter Audrey Washington shared footage of visitors at the mural alongside signs, notes, flowers balloons and other memorials to the late lawmaker.

Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for over three decades. He was beaten on “Bloody Sunday” during a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in 1965.   

One note left at the memorial read, “Thank you, Congressman Lewis, your steps, valor commitment and inspiration will not be in vain. We will vote like never before. Take your well deserved rest.”  

Another anonymous note read, “I told you of my struggles as a gay boy growing up in the North Georgia mountains,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. 

“You called me young brother, gave me a hug and told me to stay strong. It was the honor of my life. Rest in peace,” the note continued. 

Mourners also shared memories of the civil rights leader at the memorial. Edie Howard, who drove from Marietta, Ga., with her husband to see the mural, said Lewis “was like the father of the civil rights movement, a mentor to so many.” 

“It’s such a great loss, not only for Black America but for the country as a whole,” Howard told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. 

Tracy Mack, an Atlanta resident, said she met Lewis after he was awarded the presidential medal of freedom by former President Barack Obama. 

“He was so humble, so kind. I’ll never forget it,” Mack told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  

Tags Atlanta Barack Obama Civil rights movement Georgia John Lewis John Lewis death memorial

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